Chavenage House, Tetbury


Chavenage House, an Elizabethan era manor house near Tetbury that is steeped in history and a ghostly legend, has become one of the most popular television and film locations in the Cotswolds.
Chavenage House, Tetbury
Situated a mile-and-a-half northwest of Tetbury, Chavenage has many Civil War associations, including the tapestry-lined rooms that were stayed in by Oliver Cromwell and his second-in-command, General Ireton, in 1648.

The "Legend of Chavenage" revolves around the story of Col Nathaniel Stephens MP, the Lord of the Manor during the Civil War, being cursed by his daughter Abigail for bringing the Stephens name into disrepute for his part in the execution of King Charles I.

The story goes that the Colonel was soon taken terminally ill and never rose from his bed again. When he died and all were assembled for his funeral, a hearse drew up at the door of the manor house driven by a headless man, and the Colonel was seen to rise from his coffin and enter the hearse after a profound reverence to the headless personage, who as he drove away assumed the shape of the martyr King, Charles I. This was regarded as retribution for the Colonel's disloyalty to the King.

Thereafter, until the line became extinct, whenever the head of the family died, the same ghost of the King appeared to carry him off.

The story of the Stephens' family ghost is well known and in 1845 was the subject of a poem by the Rev R W Huntley of Boxwell entitled Chavenage.

Other parts of Chavenage House of particular interest include the Great Hall, which features stained-glass windows, and the Oak Room which has elaborate panelling.

The house was added to at the turn of the 20th Century, including the addition of the sprung-floored Edwardian ballroom. Close to the house is the family chapel.

Chavenage has been used in a whole host of films and TV programmes, including Barry Lyndon, The Ghost of Greville Lodge, The Barchester Chronicles, Cider with Rosie, The House of Eliott and Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

From 2008 Chavenage featured as Candleford Manor in the BBC's Lark Rise to Candleford, and in 2015, Chavenage appears as Trenwith House in the new television adaptation on Winston Graham's Poldark.

On the lighter side, the manor house has also been used for the TV sitcom Grace & Favour, for Tony Blackburn's 'Gotcha' on Noel's House Party, and for the CBeebies Christmas Pantomine.

Chavenage is open to visitors on certain afternoons in the summer and by appointment during the winter and for group visits. Visitors to Chavenage are offered personal tours, usually conducted by the current owner, David Lowsley-Williams. The house is also used a conference, function and wedding venue.

See 101 Reasons to Love the Cotswolds #97

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Tetbury, Gloucestershire, GL8 8XP


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© Loving The Cotswolds. 2021.